The Brass Monkey, Hastings
TV Smith’s performance at Trash’d New Wave Festival in Hastings on October 3rd was was an indication that British first-wave punk and post-punk’s roots reach back through the ranks of modern and post-modern pop troubadours to the activist poets and performers of the 1960s, and ultimately to the Beats.
To see Smith on stage is to witness an intense, almost shamanic performance that eschews the mannered, slickly artificial gloss of much of contemporary pop for something far more heartfelt and direct. Like him or not, he is hard to ignore, and there were moments on Saturday when all in the room – the venue bar staff, young enough to be Smith’s grandchildren, included – were held in thrall to the grip this man’s commitment to his art exerts.
TV Smith is a national treasure, and we should celebrate this generation of performers, rather than write them off as quaint reminders of a long-distant past. The message they have to deliver is as vitally relevant now as ever. If the national anthem was a song by TV Smith – and we’re spoilt for choice – you might get Jeremy Corbyn to sing along.
For more from the Trash Cannes anarchic, eclectic video archive, including work by Heathcote Williams, Colin Gibson, Iphgenia Baal and Vic Godard & Subway Sect visit http://www.trashcannesfestival.co.uk/#!trash-cannes-tv/c8rg
Photograph of TV Smith at Trash’d Festival by Mark Richards